Meet the Royal Navy's newest sea commander who has taken control of her own ship.

Lt Lauren Webber, from Chickerell, has taken over as commanding officer of HMS Puncher following five years naval service.

The 25-year-old took charge of the ship on March 1 and is now one of the youngest sea commanders in the entire Royal Navy taking control of a crew of five who are older than her.

HMS Puncher is docked in Weymouth harbour having arrived earlier this week with a flotilla of other navy training vessels (below, picture by Chris Webber)

Dorset Echo:

Based at Portsmouth naval base, HMS Puncher was built in 1988 and primarily responsible for conducting navigation training in and around the Solent.

Lauren, who joined the Royal Navy in May 2013, said: "Being a female doesn't mean there is a barrier to leadership.

"It's hard to say what a typical day will be like, no day is always the same.

"One day you can be out with the border force and police while another day you can be doing navigational training with students and people of all ranks in the navy.

"But I've just recently come back from a seven-month deployment in Bahrain."

Lauren added: "The highlight of my naval career was in 2013 when I was on HMS Illustrious on deployment in the Philippines to help provide humanitarian aid after Typhoon Haiyan, It was a humbling experience to be giving aid to people.

"But the highlight of my commanding career has got to be bringing the ship into my hometown of Weymouth, it makes me feel proud of what I have achieved."

Before joining the Royal Navy Lauren worked in a bank.

Her father, Chris, completed 25 years in the Royal Navy reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander and is now a member of the Royal Navy Reserve Air Branch.

Lauren said: “With my father being in the Royal Navy, it's always interested me. I did work experience as a 16-year-old and have wanted to join ever since.

"The navy is a stable career and has been absolutely brilliant, I've travelled all over the world but I wasn't expecting to be in charge of my own ship in five years.

"You cannot go wrong with a career in the armed forces, you have a family on the ship."

In the future, Lauren added that she was looking at becoming a commanding officer of a frigate or a destroyer like HMS Queen Elizabeth.